Building Briefs – December 3rd

Marshall Construction lends a hand in the Legacy

A historic Legacy stone, recently sited at Heriot-Watt University, was put in place by three employees from Alloa based Marshall Construction.

The Historic Scotland stone is engraved with former First Minister Alex Salmond’s words, “Rocks would melt with the sun before I allow tuition fees to be imposed on Scotland’s students”.

Building manager David Coulter from Alva, Jim Drummond, a joiner with the firm from Menstrie, and John Anderson, a labourer, also from Menstrie, were responsible for the groundworks leading up to the installation of the stone a few weeks ago at the University.

David said the work was carried out at very short notice and had to be done to a strict timescale.

“We received a phone call on Friday 7th November from Stewart King, Building Fabric Manager at Heriot-Watt, to ask if we could start work on the following Monday to prepare the ground ready for the stone being set on the Friday. The First Minister’s visit was already scheduled for the Tuesday 18th November so it was a very tight deadline for a job of that scale.”

David and his team also helped with the actual installation of the stone into the foundations, which was also carried out by Historic Scotland representatives and staff from Heriot-Watt themselves.


Council pays out £60k in appeal costs Home Emergency Insurance Cover

Nearly £60,000 has been paid out in costs after a council lost a planning appeal.

Aberdeenshire Council has been forced to pay out £59,724 to Barratt East Scotland and Malcolm Allan Housebuilders over the fight for Phase 2 Portstown and Uryside.

The developers lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government after plans for housing were kicked out by Aberdeenshire Council.

Councillors rejected the plans for 864 houses east of Inverurie, which had been recommended for refusal by officers.

Malcolm Allan Housebuilders and Barratt East Scotland had wanted to build the houses for more than a decade.

The proposals were thrown out by Aberdeenshire Council in 2011 and the Government overturned the decision last January.

Negotiations have since taken place between the local authority and developers to pave the way for the 10-year project.

A total of 24 legal conditions, from badger protection surveys to installing pavements, roads and cycle paths, were attached to the plans.

Developers were also asked to provide land for a new primary school and to contribute towards road improvements.

The developers previously claimed they would need to build 1,071 homes to fund the building of a new primary school.

Councillors raised concerns the first phases of the scheme would put pressure on the already cramped Market Place School.

Aberdeenshire Council applied for full planning permission for the creation of Uryside Primary School, which was due to be discussed by the Garioch area committee this week.

If approved, the new primary school could be built in Inverurie by 2016.


Student accommodation set for Glasgow Co-op

The former Scottish Co-operative building in Glasgow’s Bath Street has been sold and looks set to become student accommodation.

The building has been sold to Manchester-based Fortis Developments for more than £1.5 million after a successful planning application to convert it to student accommodation.

The eight-storey building closed after the group centralised its payroll operations to Manchester in 2012.


Highland Council commences planning process for Canal Parks sports facilities

The Highland Council has submitted a planning application for enhancements to the Highland Rugby Club, as part of its detailed project plans for sports facilities associated with the West Link.

The proposals include the provision of a new IRB standard all weather pitch, two re-graded grass pitches, pitch lighting, a new community clubhouse with eight changing rooms and car and bus parking. The project will also provide a community facility managed by Highlife Highland which will enable wider community access to the new facilities.

The synthetic pitch will provide an excellent new surface for rugby, but will also be available for community use for sports such as football, shinty, hockey and American football.

The planning process will include a public display of the proposals at the Inverness Aquadome on Tuesday 27th January 2015 from 10am until 8pm.

The project delivery is conditional on the council obtaining the statutory consents to build the Inverness West Link road and funding being approved by the council. The cost of the facility is estimated at £3.5 million, with potential to attract funding contributions by national bodies.


Linlithgow Leisure Centre extension approved

A bid to extend Linlithgow’s Xcite Leisure Centre has been approved by West Lothian Council, clearing the way for work to begin on a 500sq/m gym and 200sq/m multi-purpose studio space early in 2015.

Designed by CRGP as a ‘light touch’ bolt on to the existing facility the work will provide additional floor space as well as enhanced facilities for users.


High-rise Cumbernauld homes create apprenticeships for local youngsters

Two local teenagers are building a career thanks to Cumbernauld’s £75 million high-rise regeneration.

Nicole Barlow and Kieran Smith, both 16, were recently taken on as apprentice joiners by Cruden Building & Renewals at two Sanctuary Cumbernauld sites.

Local apprentices
Apprentices Nicole and Kieran with new and old flats in the background

The pair are helping Cruden build ten flats in Allanfauld Road where dilapidated garages once stood, plus another 39 flats in Hume Road on the site of the former Ochilview nursing home. The Allanfauld Road properties will be the next to complete after the 96 flats at nearby Newlands Place.

The next decade will see all 12 Cumbernauld blocks demolished and replaced with more than 400 high quality homes. Sanctuary’s plans have been developed with the support of residents, the Scottish Government and North Lanarkshire Council.


Developer submits plans to build 310 family homes in Laurencekirk

Kirkwood Homes has submitted plans for the first phase of a huge Mearns development.

The Sauchen-based housing developer wants to build 310 family homes at Conveth Mains, Laurencekirk.

The application to Aberdeenshire Council following four years of community consultation represents the first phase of development at the 278-acre site.

Conveth Mains was allocated (as M1) in the Local Development Plan in 2012 for a mixed use development, including 885 homes and 27 hectares of employment land.

The draft plan has been out to consultation in various forms since the process to develop it began in January 2008 and includes many of the development aspirations of communities, developers and individuals.

It sets out ambitious long-term and site-specific visions for the area, and will provide a practical framework within which the outcome of planning applications can be decided with a degree of certainty and efficiency.

A development framework and master plan was unanimously approved for Conveth Mains by Aberdeenshire Council’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee at the end of last year.

Proposals suggest most of the residential development will be to the west of the railway line.

There are a number of planned developments around Laurencekirk that will see the town develop further.


Plans for new high-rise flats on Clydeside

Plans have been revealed for a new high rise on Glasgow’s waterfront.

Situated in the heart of the Glasgow Harbour site, the block will contain 339 rental-only flats.

Before the recession, the original plan proposed properties of mixed tenure.

Now developer Dandara says every one of the 339 flats built will be private rental rather than sale because they have identified a “gap in the build-for-rent market”.


Colliers International strengthens Scottish planning team

Colliers International has boosted its planning team in Scotland, with the hire of Meabhann Crowe as senior planning consultant.

A chartered town planner, Meabhann has been in private practice for nearly ten years, latterly with Halliday Fraser Munro, and brings considerable experience across renewable energy, commercial, retail, mixed-use and residential projects.


Taylor Wimpey apprentice is top of the class

Keiran Welsh
Keiran Welsh

Taylor Wimpey East Scotland is delighted to announce that Keiran Welsh, aged 25 of Armadale in West Lothian, has been awarded ‘Best 2nd Year Apprentice’ following the completion of the second year of his plumbing apprenticeship at Forth Valley College in Falkirk.

Currently based at Taylor Wimpey’s development Carnegie Grange in Dunfermline, third-year plumber apprentice Keiran has won this accolade in recognition of his commitment, dedication, attendance and workmanship to both the company’s apprenticeship programme and his college work.


Paisley could get new theatre and cinema

Paisley could be in line for a new theatre and cinema as part of ambitious plans connected to the proposed bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

A new group - called Paisley 2021 Community Trust - has been formed with the aim of working with Renfrewshire Council on plans for the new venue.

A feasibility study into new theatre space was one of the flagship projects outlined in the Paisley Heritage Regeneration Strategy unveiled by the council earlier this year, which aims to use culture to transform the town over the next decade.

The trust - which has just secured incorporated charity status - is now developing ideas and a business case for the possible theatre and cinema.

They will also be speaking to key partners over how the facility could be delivered, as well as developing a funding strategy.

Experts estimate if the plans were to come to fruition, they would boost the local economy by £45m a year and create up to 800 new jobs.

Other flagship projects discussed as part of the Paisley Heritage Regeneration Strategy include a major refurbishment of Paisley Museum and the creation of a Paisley Fashion and Design Centre on the High Street.


Skye Bridge wind closure plan to be reviewed

The system used to determine when the Skye Bridge should be shut during high winds is to be reviewed.

The Highland Council said islanders were concerned that they were not receiving enough warning before the crossing was closed in bad weather.

Roads management company Bear Scotland is to make available automatic alerts via text and email.

Bear Scotland’s review will include a look at where wind speed monitoring equipment is sited.

The anemometer has been located near Eilean Ban, a small island beneath the bridge for a number of years.

The review was agreed during a meeting between Bear Scotland, police, NHS Highland and Highland councillors.

New traffic management plans will also be created for both sides of the bridge.

Weather warnings and information on closures are to be made available.


Public meeting in Invergordon on planned new harbour

Plans for a new harbour on the Cromarty Firth are to be discussed at a public meeting.

Global Energy Group has formally applied to the Scottish government to create the facility at Nigg.

The Cromarty Firth Port Authority (CFPA), which operates a harbour at Invergordon, has criticised the proposal.

Representatives from Global Energy and the port authority have been invited to Thursday’s meeting in Invergordon.

It has been organised by Cromarty Firth Action Group, which was set up by local people who want more information on the proposed new harbour.

Global Energy has said the facility close to the entrance to the firth is needed to support its work at sites it operates at Nigg and Invergordon.

The energy industry service has applied to Scottish ministers for a harbour revision order to grant it various powers for the management and control of a port at Nigg.

The order has gone out to public consultation.

Last month, group chairman Roy MacGregor said the move underlined its commitment to investing in the Highlands.

CFPA has operated a port at Invergordon for 40 years. It serves cruise liners and the North Sea oil and gas industry.

Chief executive Bob Buskie said last month that the port authority had supported Global Energy in its work but failed to understand the need for another harbour.


Elgin flood scheme bridge set to be installed

Another key element of Elgin’s £86 million flood alleviation scheme is set to be swung into place next week.

A new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists will be hoisted into position over the River Lossie on December 11.

The 25 metre single span wooden decked bridge will link the Bishopmill area with Elgin town centre and will be installed on the site of its predecessor at the south end of Bridge Street.

The steel superstructure of the new bridge, weighing nearly 30 tonnes, has been fabricated off-site by Huddersfield-based CTS Bridges and will be lifted into position by crane.

Once that is completed 10 sets of utility ducts, carrying services such as electricity, gas and telecoms, will be connected.

The substructure is reinforced concrete on top of the old masonry abutments of the old bridge.

The bridge, which is scheduled to open next April, will be slightly arched and the parapets will be painted red to match the distinctive colour of the old parapets which have been dismantled and which will be relocated nearby along a new cycleway which is being created alongside the river.

Work on the Elgin scheme, which will protect hundreds of homes and businesses from flooding, began in April 2011 and is due for completion next year.

Current estimates are that it will be completed more than £1.5m under budget.


Gourock pierhead regeneration project agreed

The ‘phasing’ of work on the £5.2m regeneration of Gourock has been set up by contractor RJ McLeod and agreed by regeneration company Riverside Inverclyde.

It means that the first phase, which consists of construction of the new car park east of Gourock Station and the formation of the new link road through the existing foreshore will run from Dec 2014 to April 2015.

The second phase, construction of new bypass road and revetment works to the Kempock Street car park wall will run from March 2015 until June 2015.

The third and final phase which consists of completion of the Network Rail car park and new paving and road resurfacing on Kempock Street is scheduled for May 2015 to October 2015.

The Gourock pierhead regeneration project is a £5.2m project funded by Inverclyde Council. The project consists of the creation of a new landscaped waterfront public realm space, the creation of a new bypass road, additional car parking spaces, the repair of the sea wall and the installation of new drainage, paving, lighting and street furniture.

The existing artworks - girl on a suitcase image - and memorial benches will be carefully removed while the works are underway and repositioned upon completion.


Ratho quarry to be turned into £10m surfing centre

A disused quarry would become an unlikely mecca for surfers from around the UK under plans to create an outdoor adventure hub on derelict industrial land.

The proposal, which is estimated to cost more than £10 million, would see the Craigpark Quarry pit near Ratho transformed into a huge artificial lake and the creation of an “adventure leisure destination”.

Scott Brewster and business partner Andrew Hadden hope to use revolutionary wave technology developed in Spain to create wave after wave of pristine “peelers” at the flick of a switch. Nowhere in the UK currently has a Wavegarden system, although two sites in Snowdonia and Bristol are already under construction.

Surf Snowdonia in the Conwy Valley is being built at a cost of £7.7m and promises 60 jobs when completed, meaning any development on the scale proposed at Ratho would likely generate tens of millions of pounds of investment.

Mr Brewster said the site could become a major destination for outdoor thrill-seekers, with space for biking and a network of zip wires suspended over the water.

His firm, Tartan Leisure Ltd, expects to submit proposals for outline planning consent in March of next year. Plans have already been submitted separately by Cala for around 100 homes in one corner of the site.


Work to start on new Dundee Hilton

Work is set to begin on the creation of a new Hilton hotel in Dundee city centre.

Contractors have moved into former office blocks at Argyll House and adjoining Waverley House in West Marketgait ahead of its £6.5 million transformation.

The empty buildings are set to house a Hampton by Hilton franchise, which could be open as soon as early 2016.

The international hotel brand has lodged a planning application to Dundee City Council in the hope of refurbishing the concrete buildings.

Plans to strip the buildings back to their original shell and apply external re-cladding are currently being considered.

If granted, the hotel would host 105 bedroom on six storeys across the site, a meeting room, gymnasium and a restaurant with a named chef.

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